AHA committee explores next generation of community health

A new report from the AHA’s Committee on Research explores what the next generation of community health may look like as hospitals and health systems redefine themselves to keep pace with the changing health care landscape. Hospitals are looking at ways to enhance community outreach and community benefit activities through integration with public health, collaboration with community partners and building a better community health infrastructure, the report notes. The report can be accessed at AHA.org/research.

Tools help hospitals to align their workforce with changing needs

The AHA’s 2016 Committee on Performance Improvement issued a report in early March to help leaders align the skills and abilities of their organization’s current workforce with anticipated needs. “There is a critical need to elevate the discussion about workforce planning and development so that it becomes part of a comprehensive strategic plan for hospitals and systems and not just an issue to respond to in a crisis situation,” the report notes. The report includes a tool to help initiate strategic workforce conversations, and specific recommendations and examples from hospital leaders and experts in the field. See the full report at AHA.org/research.

AHA guide to ensuring access to care in vulnerable communities

The AHA has released a discussion guide to help hospital and health system board members and leaders implement innovative ways to preserve access to essential health care services in vulnerable rural and urban communities. The AHA’s Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities recently issued a report offering a menu of options for communities at risk for losing access to essential health care services based on their unique needs, support structures and preferences. “The ultimate goal is to provide vulnerable communities and the hospitals that serve them with the tools necessary to determine the essential services they should strive to maintain locally, and the delivery system options that will allow them to do so,” the guide notes. “While the task force’s focus was on vulnerable communities, these strategies may have broader applicability for all communities as hospitals redefine how they provide better, more integrated care.” To access the discussion guide, report and related resources, visit AHA.org/EnsuringAccess. The guide was released in conjunction with the AHA Rural Hospital Leadership Conference in Phoenix, where AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack hosted a live webcast with members of the task force and took questions from the audience and webcast participants.